BBC employees checking their emails this morning would have expected the usual kind of information and notices that they receive every day. Today though, the 25th of February, is no ordinary day.
It is the day Alan Partridge returns to our screens and attempts to cement himself back in the limelight of the BBC in his new-magazine style show This Life, which premiers tonight on BBC One at 9:30pm.
This marks a 24-year break from working at the BBC for Alan, in which he was cast out of the broadcasting company for accidentally shooting a talk-show guest and assaulting a BBC commissioning editor. The scarce details which have been revealed about the show inform us that he will tackle such controversial issues as the Me Too Movement and Brexit. What could possibly go wrong?
In his email, Alan informs his colleagues that:
‘Yes, some 24 years after my last presenting gig, the BBC have sidled up to me with a short-term offer to co-present your much-loved magazine show This Time, standing in for John Baskell who’s been taken ill. My response? Well, although my diary is as clogged as John’s arteries (get well, John!) I have agreed to drop everything and step up.
Now, some of you aren’t going to like that. Some of you made clear when I left that I wouldn’t be welcome back; a woman who worked in compliance called Karen or Kate or Kath who had long wavy hair and apparently still works here sneered so hard I thought her face would turn inside out.’
He continued: ‘But back I am, as evidenced by this, my own official BBC email address. And with it I reach out to you, my colleagues – not to gloat, or settle old scores, or say, ‘Hey, Karen/Kate/Kath, why don’t you kiss my arse’ – but to be the bigger man and clear the air of any residual stench.’
‘No, it’s time for a clean slate and no hard feelings. Because I love the BBC and I always have. While others might say it’s a smug anachronism full of braying, know-nothing chancers doling out fat commissions to their braying, know-nothing Oxbridge mates, I don’t. I think the BBC is great and watch its programmes avidly, regardless of their quality.’
‘All I ask is that you return the favour. All of you. From on-screen talent right the way down to off-screen staff. I ask every one of this email’s 20,000+ recipients to tune in tonight at 9.30pm on BBC One. Even if nobody else in the country does, we’re already hitting the kind of numbers my shows were getting on Sky Atlantic. Spread the word to a few more and my viewing figures will show the upward trajectory management is bound to want a piece of.”
Alan signs off by repeatedly pleading his colleagues to tune into his new show tonight ‘Please, please please, please tune in’ and stresses that the email has been sent by ‘Your colleague (and I am your colleague).’
We can only hope Alan stays a colleague at the BBC for as long as possible this time around, but with the controversial topics he is said to tackle – you may feel he might get himself into trouble again. Just maybe.